Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Chauvinism among Painters

Coffee Pot Ridge 9x12 oil - Available

Painters in one medium can learn a lot from painters in a different medium. For example, in my workshops, where I demonstrate in both pastel and oil, I encourage pastel painters to watch the oil demo, and the oil painters to watch the pastel demo. Why? Because pastelists can learn about color mixing from oil painters, and oil painters can learn how to control value from pastelists.

Unfortunately, painters who work exclusively in one medium sometimes are chauvinistic when it comes to other media. I know oil painters who turn up their noses at pastels, and I also know pastel painters who scoff at oils. The problem seems to be worse with pastel painters, probably because pastel was, for many years, considered a lesser medium than oil. The underdog thinks he can't respect himself unless he feels that he's better than the top dog.  (Forgive me, fellow pastelists, but I've seen this time and again.)

All media are created equal. No medium is better than any other medium. It doesn't matter whether it's oil, pastel, gouache, clay, marble or digital bits. What really matters is what you do with it.

If you're a painter who works in just one medium, I encourage you to pick up a second. Not only does one medium inform another, but you will find yourself humbled when you first struggle with it. Humility is a virtue among artists.

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